Why did Rahul start Rapportive?
Rapportive was started to satisfy Rahul's own need. While at the University of Cambridge,, Rahul dropped out of a PhD in Machine Learning and instead focused his time on meeting local entrepreneurs. He needed a tool that would help him establish a rapport with his new contacts, and so Rapportive was born!
How did Linkedin go about acquiring Rapportive?
Linkedin initially approached Rahul with a request to stop using a third-party API to acquire their data, and as an entrepreneur would, Rahul requested they gave him direct access instead.
There were only ~20 companies using this secret Linkedin API and Rapportive was now one of them. It all started as a business development conversation, and eventually turned into an acquisition.
Why did Rahul Vohra start Superhuman email client?
Rahul was looking for a massive market, and while email was getting bigger, it was also been getting more underserved. Microsoft and Google had a strong hold on the experience, and every year that experience just kept getting worse. Thanks to his work at Rapportive and Linkedin, Rahul knew email very well, and it seemed like the logical next opportunity.
Did Rahul consider any other ideas before starting Superhuman?
Rahul believes that every founder has a startup that is meant just for them, something they are destined to fix, and when they do, the world will get behind them and support them. Superhuman was that startup for Rahul Vohra.
How did Rahul validate the need for Superhuman?
Rahul put a splash page for Superhuman where the only thing people could do was to sign up for the upcoming product. Once in the system, every potential user got an email with two questions:
1 - What do you use for email today?
2 - What are your pet peeves with it?
The hypothesis was that Gmail got slow and people had to use 3rd party plugins to make it work, while 3rd party clients were buggy and unstable.
Responses from those early users confirmed that both were true, and so Superhuman was onto something.
What's one clever way in which Rahul was able to acquire new users for Superhuman?
When Mailbox, previously sold to Dropbox, was getting shut down, Rahul wrote a lengthy blog post entitled "How to survive an acquisition."
Being at the right place, at the right time, gave this blog post outsized visibility, and generate new users for Superhuman, basically for free.
How did Superhuman win against free alternatives?
Superhuman positioned themselves as the Tesla of email. From the very beginning it was going to be a premium tool for a premium market. It was for founders, CEOs and managers of high-growth companies who wanted to do email better and faster. Superhuman was then Meticulously crafted to serve this narrow core group. Instead of trying to compete on price, the product was now competing on value, and Rahul used the first couple of hundred customers to figure out exactly what the price was going to be where users felt it was pricey, but were willing to spend.